TRIBUTE Daphne, my friend She is hated by people who didn’t know her. She is also hugely admired by people she didn’t know. Prof. Clare Vassallo shares a deeply personal tribute to world-renowned murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
ehumanised, stripped of love and
5, we forged a tight group of school
read in them. Stories, travel, puzzles,
laughter, a face, a name, a symbol
friends at St Dorothy’s School in Depiro
quizzes — there were Ballet Annuals
held up high and made to stand for
Street, Sliema. Friends who all lived
too, and all other sorts. Eventually we
various battles — my childhood friend
within walking distance of the school
moved on to Jackie and Pink. When we
is being transformed into a sign, a
and from each others’ houses. Simone,
were about nine years old, we were
thing that stands for something else.
Iona, Gladys, Stephanie, Doreen, Carole
allowed to walk down to the Ferries
For me, she is someone real who
and Clare (always said in the same
together on Saturday mornings to
I knew and who I miss. Someone
breath so people often didn’t know
buy them from Morris or Manche’s
whose voice still rings in my ear with
who was who — and some still don’t),
stationaries on Tower Road. We’d
the odd funny and clever comment.
and Daphne. We started a book club.
meet at the top of Cathedral Street
By the age of seven we were all avid
near Stella Maris Church and walk
when I first met her at school in
readers of Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven
down together. Sometimes we’d
Infants A at age 3, was my first
and The Famous Five adventures, as
go on to Allies Bar for a Coke and a
school friend. We were tiny then,
well as many other authors such as
cheesecake. Francis Ebejer was often
standing against the wall in the large,
L. M. Alcott. We pooled our books so
there, sitting on those dark curved
loud ‘double-room’ full of children
we could all share them. Sometimes
wooden chairs outside in the sun.
taller than us, busy running around,
we kept them in Daphne’s bedroom,
This is Daphne as I remember her.
shouting and playing, overpowering
probably because she was President
The girl who was funny, clever, witty,
us. She was always tall and very
of our club (and I was Vice President).
and perhaps not so wise — since
Daphne Vella, as she was known
slim, with straight dark hair tied in bunches, as was my lighter wavy hair.
In Infants A and all the way to Junior
We liked our comics too. And the
she seemed to have a knack, as she
special Annuals that came out at
grew older, of upsetting most of her
Christmas — there was so much to
teachers and anyone in authority. But